course
Contemporary Issues in Biology (Lecture)

Apr 2014

Professor Heller does not treat students with the same respect she reserves for adults, and is often condescending. In the lab environment, Professor Heller is unsure of herself and a harsh grader. I have also received misinformation concerning exams from Professor Heller. Nearly everyone P/F her class, not because the material is difficult, but because Professor Heller is a nightmare of a teacher. Contemporary Issues in Biology has been the worst class I have taken at Barnard/Columbia thus far. Though the course material is incredibly useful to know, many students choose not to come to class and claim that Professor Heller relays inaccurate information. It is incredibly unfortunate that Professor Heller is one of the only professors teaching introductory biology. This course has a lot of potential, and Professor Heller does not come close to doing the material any justice. Avoid Professor Heller if at all possible.

Apr 2013

I really don't understand why she gets such a bad rep. Other than being a bit monotonous, she's not bad at all. The material is straight forward and her lectures summarize absolutely everything. I read the textbook as well and I was golden. If you've taken bio in high school you will breeze through this class. Even though lab was just irritating, it definitely wasn't difficult. This is an entirely doable class and she is very helpful at office hours. I don't know why people dislike her so much. I found the class pretty straight-forward.

May 2012

Professor Heller is the worst teacher. I took this class because it was supposed to be meant for students who just wanted to get through the lab science requirement. Professor Heller would send out the notes the day before with huge pieces missing and then read the slides. I would be so busy copying the notes that I didn't hear anything she said. It was also really hard to study for the exams because there was no way to know what kinds of questions she would ask. Every exam the average was between a C- and a B-, you would think that would tip her off to the fact that no one was understanding her but she doesn't seem to realize or mind.

Dec 2011

This class was such a waste of time, and Professor Heller didn't make it any better. Her excuse for repeatedly not knowing answers to questions was "I'm not a doctor." Her exam questions came out of left field, and the fact that we required 25-point curves on exams for a couple people to get As never really sunk in with her. I would definitely not take this class with her again- she has no idea how to teach biology to non-science majors.

Apr 2011

I've had an awful time in this class, and I came in with a lot of biology from high school. I think the number of people P/D/F this classes speaks for itself. She seems like a perfectly nice person but her lectures are dreadfully boring (and repetitive, you can seriously come in 15 minutes late and not miss a thing because she's recapping the entire lecture from the class before). All the power points are put on courseworks. I could have dealt if the class was boring but what really gets me is the exams. She does an awful job of indicating what material is actually going to be on the exams. This semester for example we spent over a week talking about HIV, plus a lab that focused on it. Then on a 50 question midterm, there were 3, maybe, questions on HIV. It makes it a really frustrating course to study for because even if you study exactly what she tells you to, and not be prepared for the exam (not to mention she frequently has to re-write questions in the middle of the test because someone points out a question that makes no sense). No one cares (no ever shows up to class) because they're only there to fulfill their science requirement and she doesn't get that. I will be so glad when this class is over.

Sep 2010

Most frequently heard phrase upon asking "Dr" Sable any question: "I am not a .... but..." "I am not a neurologist, but I would imagine that...", "I am not a physician, but..." "I am not a cardiologist, but..." I was left with nothing but to wonder what she actually WAS. In other words? She's clueless. And certainly not a teacher. Her 9am classes are a pathetic waste of time that teach you absolutely nothing. Sheer torture. And they won't prepare you for the multiple choice tests - read the book for that. The labs are little better, filled with elementary experiments and a milieu of useless, repetitive write ups. Mind numbing. Advice: stay the hell away unless you have the patience of 100 year old tortoise. You WILL be driven nuts. NUTS I TELL YOU!

Mar 2009

This woman is unbelievable. Really, it's remarkable how she can politicize an intro biology course. And you'll still walk away knowing nothing. She talks and talks and talks but I can't even explain what she's talking about. She strays from the subject matter very, very frequently. I really couldn't tell you what the objectives of this course really is. She finds ways to fill time with her words, but they don't ever apply to the subject matter. If you love Al Gore, this is the class for you.

Apr 2007

Professor Calahan is probably the worst lecturer I've ever had. Sure, she makes the class amusing at times with her quirks, but after a while, her big "theatrical voice" gets really under your skin. Also, she uses the class like a pulpit, preaching how bitter she is about Al Gore "losing the election against Bush." It's a 50 minute lecture class three times a week, and she uses up I'd say about 40 minutes of each one talking about nonsense and her graduate work in Wisconsin. She tries to make the class funny, but it's a lame attempt. She also does not explain the material well at all, and she confuses the students even more when she tries to answer questions.